IPL 2023: Du Plessis, Siraj star in RCB’s 24-run win over Punjab Kings

Mohali, April 20 (IANS) Despite a bruised rib, Faf du Plessis hit 84 off 56 balls on a pitch which wasn’t easy for stroke play at the IS Bindra PCA Stadium while Mohammed Siraj shined in both powerplay and death overs to pick his career-best 4/21 in the league, propelling Royal Challengers Bangalore to a 24-run win over Punjab Kings and their first victory outside home in the ongoing IPL 2023, here on Thursday.
After being 137/0 in 16 overs, Bangalore could get only 37 runs and lost four wickets in their last four overs, as Punjab staged a strong comeback with their bowlers using cutters and not bowling much fuller deliveries to keep the visitors to 174/4.
But Bangalore had the advantage of having the powerplay in their favour in both innings — 59/0 with the bat and reducing Punjab to 43/4. Siraj was well-supported by Wanindu Hasaranga, Wayne Parnell and Harshal Patel chipping in with wickets. With some superb fielding coming into play, Bangalore managed to bowl out Punjab for 150 in 18.2 overs.
Siraj’s superb show began by trapping Atharva Taide lbw on his second ball after the review showed the ball crashing into leg-stump. Hasaranga struck on the first ball of the third over by castling Matthew Short with a googly.
Lethal Siraj returned in the fourth over to trap Liam Livingstone lbw, which was given ‘not out’ by the on-field umpire. After a long chat with Siraj and Dinesh Karthik, Virat Kohli went for a review, which paid off as replays showed ball hitting top of leg-stump, giving the pacer his seventh power-play wicket of IPL 2023.
Siraj’s powerful direct hit from mid-off then caught Harpreet Bhatia short of his crease at the striker’s end as Punjab continued to slide. Prabhsimran Singh put some pressure on Bangalore by launching Hasaranga for a brace of sixes over long-on fence.
But Bangalore continued to pick wickets as Sam Curran was run-out by a direct hit from Hasaranga while going for a quick single and two overs later, Prabhsimran’s blitzkrieg ended when Parnell uprooted his off-stump, followed by Hasaranga having Shahrukh Khan stumped easily.
Jitesh Sharma began to show aggression by slamming Hasaranga for a six down the ground, followed by carving impact player Vyshak Vijaykumar over extra cover for four and then hit another six down the ground.
Jitesh got a life on 38 when Kohli dropped his catch at long-on off Harshal on the last ball of the 17th over. Siraj struck in the next over by castling Harpreet Brar and Nathan Ellis in a span of four balls, before Jitesh sliced to backward point in Harshal Patel’s over, giving Bangalore their third win of IPL 2023.
Earlier, du Plessis hit five fours and as many sixes in his sparkling knock while stand-in captain Virat Kohli made a 47-ball 59, but suffered a slowdown in the middle overs as Bangalore didn’t get the desired finishing kick to finish below 180.
Bangalore were off to a flier as Kohli hit three fours on short balls from Brar and Arshdeep Singh. Du Plessis then tore into Brar, the left-arm spinner, by smashing sixes down the ground and over deep mid-wicket fence.
Kohli then pulled Nathan Ellis for four while du Plessis sliced him through backward point and then swivelled against Curran over mid-wicket to collect a brace of boundaries as Bangalore ended power-play unscathed.
Post power-play, Punjab’s bowlers tried to keep du Plessis quiet by attacking stumps constantly. But du Plessis varied between being still and backing away to hit boundaries and reach his fifty in 31 balls.
On the other hand, Kohli slowed down, but got his fifty in 40 balls with his trademark cover drive through long-off for four and followed it up with a lofted drive over wide long-off for six off Ellis.
Punjab finally had a breakthrough in the start of the 17th over when Kohli shuffled across to paddle sweep against Brar, but the toe-end edge of the bat was caught by Jitesh, who dropped du Plessis catch in the previous over, superbly diving to his left.
On the very next ball, Glenn Maxwell went for a big slog, but sliced to point, departing for a golden duck. Du Plessis continued to get runs by smacking a brace of sixes, before holing out to long-off.
Karthik and Mahipal Lomror hit a four each off Arshdeep in the 19th over, before the former holed out to deep square leg. By then, Bangalore reached a total which was eventually sufficient to defend against Punjab.
Brief Scores: Royal Challengers Bangalore 174/4 in 20 overs (Faf du Plessis 84, Virat Kohli 59; Harpreet Brar 3/31, Arshdeep Singh 1/34) beat Punjab Kings 150 in 18.2 overs (Prabhsimran Singh 46, Jitesh Sharma 41; Mohammed Siraj 4/21, Wanindu Hasaranga 2/39) by 24 runs

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